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Do Squats Make Your Butt Bigger?

author image Beth Rifkin
Beth Rifkin has been writing health- and fitness-related articles since 2005. Her bylines include "Tennis Life," "Ms. Fitness," "Triathlon Magazine," "Inside Tennis" and others. She holds a Bachelor of Business Administration from Temple University.
Do Squats Make Your Butt Bigger?
Do Squats Make Your Butt Bigger? Photo Credit: iprogressman/iStock/GettyImages

If you have a slim figure, developing your glutes with squats can help to enhance your butt and make it bigger. The butt muscles, or the glutes, consist of the gluteus maximus, gluteus medius and gluteus minimus. The largest muscle in the body, the gluteus maximus, mostly makes up the appearance of your buttocks.

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Proper Squat Form

Performing squats with proper form is key to maximizing the development of your glutes.

How to Squat: Stand tall with your feet slightly wider than hip-width. Engage your glutes, pull your abdominal muscles in toward your spine and slide your shoulder blades down your back. Bend your knees and hinge your hips back as you lower your butt toward the floor; allow your torso to lean slightly forward. Stop lowering when your thighs are parallel to the ground. Keep your back straight and knees behind your toes. Hold the contraction for one count and then push through your feet to straighten your legs and stand upright.

Read More: Is This the World's Greatest Exercise?

Resistance Matters

Adding resistance to your squats can help the glutes to fatigue more quickly. Plus, resistance leads to the breakdown of muscle fibers, which prompts your body to repair with thicker and stronger fibers, thus increasing your muscle size.

Examples of resistance are dumbbells, barbells, kettlebells and medicine balls. Choose a level of resistance that fatigues you in one to three sets of eight to 12 repetitions with proper form. For even faster results, go heavier and aim for six to eight reps. Perform squat workouts two to three times per week, allowing 48 hours between sessions for recovery.

How you position the resistance also matters. Hold a barbell across the backs of your shoulders to really emphasize the glutes. Position dumbbells or kettlebells alongside your hips as you squat down. A single medicine ball may be held at the front of your chest as you squat -- but squat deeply or else you'll emphasize your quads at the front of the thighs more than your glutes.

Read More: 12 Essential Squat Variations to Try

Engage Your Butt

For squats to be effective in building your butt, you have to make sure you're engaging the glute muscles. Concentrate on squeezing the glute muscles and driving down with your heels as you come up from the squatting position. You must also drop your thighs to parallel, or if your knees are healthy, below parallel to get your butt to activate. Partial squats, or squats in which you put most of your weight into the balls of your feet, will develop your quadriceps more than your glutes.

Add other butt-building moves to expedite glute growth. Deadlifts, lunges and donkey kicks are other exercises to add to your workouts.

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